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November 28, 2010 / tommoradpour

5 Unexpected Tips To Put Your iPad To Work!

Anyone who knows me will tell you – I am a gadget freak. Every generation iPod and iPhone, Archos players, Nintendo DS, PSP, Kindle and Nook… I even had Sony Ericksson smartphones back in the days they got that market started (remember the P800, anyone?).

You name it – I probably had it.

But I’ve never had any gadget have such an impact on my daily life, as my iPad. The thing is practically glued to my hand 12 hours a day. Anyone who’s ever touched one of those babies knows they’re great for watching videos, gaming, reading books or newspapers, browsing the web, tweeting etc. I do that quite a lot, trust me.


But my most unexpected discovery is how great it was for work. And by “for work”, I don’t mean playing Angry Birds when you’re bored in a meeting. I mean actual productive, job-related, work.

So, after compulsively trying app after app, here are my 5 tips for making the most of your iPad in the office!


#1 – Don’t ever print anything again with GOOD READER ($0.99)

You can find lots of good content readers for the iPad. Good Reader costs $0.99, and I think there is no reason to look any further. It handles everything I can throw at it, from JPGs and PDFs to PowerPoints and Keynotes. Playback is flawless except for the most graphics heavy decks. Importing is super easy: you can either use the iTunes “apps” tab , or simply email documents to yourself – you’ll be given the choice to “open in Good Reader” when you open the attachment. Easy.


#2 -Take fancier notes with SUNDRY NOTES (Free)

I don’t print any more – I practically don’t take notes on paper either. Personal taste: I really don’t like Apple’s yellow paper “Notes”. I discovered this little Gem called Sundry Notes, which lets you combine type, hand-written doodles, voice notes and more, all on the same page. My favorite feature is the ability to paste web clippings directly into your notes while in your meeting, making them much more visual and engaging. You can look for Google images, references in Wikipedia, website screen grabs… anything!


#3 -Eat your frogs; they never tasted so good – OMNIFOCUS ($39.99)

I’ve always been a fan of organized to do lists, to get things done, especially the hard bits. It was Mark Twain who once said that if you ate a live frog first thing in the morning, then you could enjoy the rest of your day thinking the hardest part was behind you. So it’s no surprise I jumped on the opportunity to take my to do lists to the next level with an iPad app.

Nothing new there – you can do this on a desktop or a phone. But the iPad makes it much easier to use for two reasons: first, the big touch screen makes it more manageable compared with clunkier desktop options; second, more importantly, it’s a “second screen”, so your to do list can always be in front of you while you’re working on your desktop. And of course, it’s easier to carry around.

I splurged on the rather expensive OmniFocus which is worth every penny, and connects with a desktop and iPhone version if you fancy integration. I have it on both iPad and iPhone, not my desktop.


#4 – Get thoughts out of your head – ITHOUGHTS HD ($9.99)

Contrary to the previous three, this tip was something new for me. I had never used mind-mapping before, and discovered with the iPad how great it was to capture my thoughts and get them organized. When I’m in the office I like to use this really big white board to think, brainstorm or map out plans. But when I’m out and about, iThoughts HD has proven to be quite a powerful companion. Particularly on planes where space and privacy are key – it works.


#5 -Manage email faster – MAIL (yes, the default iOS app)

Put it this way: I wish all mail clients were as good as iOS 4.2. I already loved the integrated inbox and email conversation features on the iPhone; now that they’ve graduated to the iPad, this is simply the best way to manage my inbox, bar none. Integrated inbox means I get all my mail in the same box without having to switch between my three accounts (Microsoft exchange, and gmail addresses). “Conversation” groups all the mails that respond or forward the same thread as one single item, easy to review… and delete.. in one go. The iPad is now my first “triage” destination for email.


Those are my tips – please share yours!



Leave a Comment
  1. Sylvain Martel / Nov 28 2010 19:41

    Thx Tom!

    Have to download Sundry Notes & iThoughts HD, never heard of them so far.

    I know i always repeat the same apps when we talk iPhone & iPad on #UsGuys. But i will never repeat enough, once you get to know Evernotes and use it correctly, you can’t live without it then.

    Same story with Dropbox. Probably one of the best cloud app i know. A must have!


    • tommoradpour / Nov 29 2010 10:04

      Merci Sylvain!
      iThoughts HD changed the way I work on “thinking pieces”. I used to do paper, white board or just jump in with PowerPoint. You won’t believe how effective mindmapping is to get your thoughts organized quickly.
      I tried Evernotes a few times, and I guess never got to the point I saw the value for me.
      I’ll give DRopbox another try though 🙂

  2. Sylvain Martel / Nov 29 2010 10:19

    I have to admit i use Evernotes much more on a personal basis than a professional one. Everytime i drink a wine bottle i like (or dislike), i picture it and send it to Evernote. Will not forget it next time i’m looking for one..

    Same for wine reviews, recipes, or any other printed documents/articles i read and that is of interest. Picture it with the iPhone and upload it to Evernotes. Easy, fast, and useful (i forget everything that i don’t write down somewhere!).

    Dropbox is amazing by it’s usabiity. So easy to use for everybody! Multi-platforms being part of our lives now (smartphone+tablet+computer), it is an easy way to make sure your reading list or docs follow you wherever you are. And it works with Goodreader.


  3. Dane Findley / Nov 29 2010 12:22

    My spouse would agree with you, Tom. I bought him an iPad for his birthday, and he keeps it next to him ALL DAY with… you guessed it, his email open.

    He likes leaving email open all the time, then using his laptop for everything else (instead of toggling back and forth between browser tabs).

    I admit it, I really didn’t think the iPad was going to be such a pivotal productivity tool for people. At least, not to this extent!

  4. Fred McClimans / Nov 29 2010 15:01

    Tom: You are on fire! Excellent list of tools. You hit a couple that I’ll have to try. I agree with Evernote, by the way – just never felt right. Personally, Dropbox, QuickOffice and DocsToGo are fantastic. I’d also suggest the WordPress app (free) for those of us that have WP-based blogs. Not perfect, but not too shabby either.


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